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This kind of garment is generally called a surcoat. It is a sleeveless mantle that normally goes to the knees and is worn over a coat. A velvet surcoat, such as that being worn by Machiavelli in the painting is a specific type of surcoat which the Italians called a giornea. The giornea was typical of 14th and 15th century fashion in Florence. Note that the ...


In a letter to Francesco Vettori Machiavelli famously wrote: When evening comes, I return home and go into my study. On the threshold I strip off my muddy, sweaty, workday clothes, and put on the robes of court and palace, and in this graver dress I enter the antique courts of the ancients and am welcomed by them, and there I taste the food that alone is ...

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